The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

A favorite lunch: Greens & Beans

September 15, 2010Jo CooperFood As Medicine0

My colleague Klara Royal is SO busy preparing for our Mind-Body Medicine professional training program coming up October 2 – 6 here in the Washington, DC area that I wanted to make lunch for her as a special treat.  What to cook?  Easy– our old favorite, greens & beans.

We first learned this from Food As Medicine faculty member John Bagnulo, PhD, MPH, organic farmer and teacher extraordinaire.  It’s as simple as can be, and there’s something about the combination of kale and beans that radiates energy.  Cheap, easy, nutritious and delicious.  A winner!

Ingredients:  one bunch kale, 1 can cannellini beans, one extra-large or several small cloves garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, Bragg’s or tamari to taste.

Method:  Wash and tear kale into bite-sized pieces.  If you’ve never cooked kale before, you will be SHOCKED at how much it cooks down!  Rinse beans.  Peel and chop garlic.

Warm a small heavy pot and pour in about 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Give that a minute to warm, then briefly sauté chopped garlic.  Add beans, stir, and cover.  Meanwhile, warm a large pan (I use a chef’s pan, a sort of flat- bottomed wok, at home, but anything will do), add a little olive oil, and throw in the kale.  Add about one cup water, stir and cover.  Check on the beans.  Stir a little and smash a few, so there are some whole and some smashed (makes for a nice texture at the end).  Stir the kale a few more times– I leave the beans to brown/crisp a little on the bottom for some crunch–and in about 5 – 7 minutes you are all done.  The greens should be bright, emerald green and still chewy, but not tough.

Serve the kale in a flat bowl or plate, top with the cooked beans and a spritz of Bragg’s or Tamari to taste.  Experience suggests that if you are making this at work, your colleagues will start drifting  into the kitchen and making “mmmmm” noises right about when the garlic really starts to sizzle.  No problem– teach them how to make it, too.  Also works with family members.

Serves 2.  Or one, if like Klara’s husband you LOVE kale.


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Jo Cooper

About Jo Cooper

Jo Cooper, Online Communications Editor, is the editor of the Centering blog. She posts on and tweets @MindBodyMed and about marketing, design and photography on @JoCooperStudio. Questions about the blog? Contact her at

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